A BOY who grew boobs “bigger than the girls at school” is joining thousands suing Johnson & Johnson after a fellow Risperdal victim won a £6billion payout.
Eddie Bible, a victim who began taking the drug at the age of 13, had corrective surgery to remove excess breast tissue in the US.
During an interview with CNN about his distressing experience, the Oklahoma man – now aged 26 – recalled feeling shame when seeing his large breasts in the mirror as a teen.
He said: "I had bigger boobs than the girls in (high) school. I thought, 'am I going to have to get a training bra?'"
Bible is among thousands of Risperdal lawsuits awaiting a decision following a landmark £6billion win in punitive damages from Johnson & Johnson in America.
The Sun Online reported yesterday how Nicholas Murray won the massive payout in punitive damages at a court in Philadelphia.
Looking back on it, I feel like an experiment.
The jury this week awarded the money to Murray, who previously won $680,000 (£556,000) over his claims that it failed to warn that young men using Risperdal could grow breasts.
J&J called the sum “grossly disproportionate with the initial compensatory award” and said it was confident it would be overturned.
Murray – like other male plaintiffs in the mass tort litigation over Risperdal – claims he developed breasts after he took the anti-psychotic drug as a child when diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
In Bible's case, he was prescribed the medicine as a teen to treat anxiety and bipolar disorder.
But, just 18 months later, he suffered from gynaecomastia – sometimes referred to as "man boobs".
The US Food and Drug Administration approved the drug in late 1993 for treating schizophrenia and episodes of bipolar mania in adults.
Penney & Associates Injury Lawyers said that in 2006, J&J finally put on the drug’s label that one of the major side-effects was gynaecomastia, breast growth in men.
HUMILIATION AT SCHOOL
The law firm said: "This condition has affected men of various ages, and persists after the drug is no longer used.
"Breast reduction surgery is often not covered by insurance plans, meaning that many victims would have to pay out of pocket to deal with the condition in this way."
Bible claims that his life was affected considerably by the side-effects.
As his breasts grew, he withdrew from social life whenever possible, because of the humiliation.
While at school, he experienced ridicule and mistreatment that would haunt him years later.
He said: “Looking back on it, I feel like an experiment."
Bible claims that had he known of the side-effect in question he would have never taken the drug to begin with.
Penny & Associates says that "over 13,000 plaintiffs are expected to file a pharmaceutical injury lawsuit against J&J".
Plaintiffs claim that the firm failed to warn of the risk of gynaecomastia, associated with Risperdal, which they say the company marketed for unapproved uses with children.
Jason Itkin, a personal injury lawyer representing victims at Arnold & Itkin, said: "This is a company that’s supposed to help people and instead has gone out of their way to hurt kids.
Representatives at the pharmaceutical giant insist that the drug remains an essential product for its intended users, citing millions who have used the drug without serious side-effects.
However, victims such as Bible still bear the scars of their breast reduction surgeries.
Children grab you to try to figure out what you are.
Many former Risperdal users also continue to suffer social side-effects long after they stopped using the drug.
Arturo Carino was driven out of high school after being allegedly abused by other students.
Now aged 23, he has not graduated from high school, nor can he afford corrective surgery.
Carino recalled: "Children grab you to try to figure out what you are.
"If I have this for the rest of my life, I’m probably not going to have a significant other.”
J&J is also facing lawsuits involving its baby powder, opioids, medical devices and other products.
What is gynaecomastia and how is it caused by Risperdal?
Gynaecomastia – sometimes referred to as "man boobs" – is a common condition that causes boys' and men's breasts to swell and become larger than normal.
It is most common in teenage boys and older men, says the NHS.
Gynaecomastia can be caused by an imbalance between the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen.
Oestrogen causes breast tissue to grow.
Risperdal is an anti-psychotic drug – anti-psychotics reportedly cause gynaecomastia by increasing levels of a hormone, prolactin, which stimulates breast growth and milk production in women.
Risperdal is also one of the worst atypical antipsychotics in producing gynaecomastia.
If the condition is not addressed early, it can lead to the growth of permanent breast tissue that remains even after the drug is discontinued.
In many cases, liposuction, breast reduction surgery, and surgical removal of the breast may be required.
Signs vary from a small amount of extra tissue around the nipples to more prominent breasts.
It can affect one or both breasts.
While all men produce some oestrogen, they usually have much higher levels of testosterone, which stops the oestrogen from causing breast tissue to grow.
If the balance of hormones in the body changes, this can cause a man's breasts to grow.
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